Monica Parker affectionately known as Sista Monica Parker “the lioness of the blues” recently gained national TV placement of her music on the Fox channel. Her original song “Show Me What You’re Working With” was on the hit show “So You Think You Can Dance” finale show August 11, 2011. Choreographer – Ray Leeper selected the song written by Sista Monica and her piano player Danny Beconcini from her 2005 CD release “Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down.” Melanie Moore was the winning dancer of SYTYCD 2011 as she danced to this sexy, naughty and somewhat dysfunctional routine as Leeper suggests. Her dance to this song was the highlight of the evening. She won!
In June 2011, Sista Monica was invited to perform with India Arie at the Uptown Theater in Napa, California after her returned from touring and performing in Paris, France, Bern, Switzerland, Monte Carlo and Greece. Just prior to leaving on her European tour, she and her world class band performed with BB King at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California.
Mo Muscle Records’ Indie recording artist – Sista Monica is in the studio putting the finishing touches on her next CD production. She has been writing, producing, performing and singing in between session and promises to have it released by the fall 2011.
She released her 9th CD “Soul Blues & Ballads”. It is a CD of her classic jewels of blues which includes: “A Chance To Breathe”, “It’s A Shame – It’s A Mystery”, “Never Say Never” and “I Don’t Want To Hurt You Baby” just to name a few. Known as the “Lioness of the Blues” Monica is an award winning blues, soul and gospel singer, songwriter, speaker, & music producer. She is a captivating and dynamic performer. Today, Sista Monica is one of the most admired women on the international festival music scene.
This new release follows her gospel & inspirational CD “Sweet Inspirations” in September 2008. The CD is a 17-track compilation songs of hope, faith and changes for our challenging times. Songs selected and made her own are “You Gotta Move” by Mississippi Floyd McDowell, “This Joy” by Shirley Caesar”, “Imagine” by John Lennon, “Sweet Inspiration” by the Sweet Inspirations, and her own “All Things Are Possible” and her funky up-tempo “Live in The Spirit”. The last track is a bonus; “To Dream the Impossible Dream” a tribute Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he gives the baton to the first African American President – Barack Obama.
In 2005, she aptly titled her new release “Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down”. Sista Monica gives a renewed meaning to blues as healing music. Surviving cancer has given new power and freedom to her lyrics. Each track evokes the gift she feels to be able to write, sing, produce and perform music. “It’s a comeback album,” she says. “The focus and the theme is speaking to the truth — my truth. It’s sorta autobiographical, current and in your face, offering hope and a eflection of my remarkable recovery experience.” Radio DJ’s say it’s a favorite with originals such as the title track “Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down”, “Show Me What You’re Working With”, “Cooking with Grease”, “Lip Service” and “It’s Good To Be Alive!”
Sista Monica is a Soul Survivor!
Determined to sing and live out her purpose, Monica underwent more than eighteen months of aggressive chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and physical therapy. The result was a complete removal of the tumor, but nerves and muscles in her entire upper right side were damaged. Eventually, with determination, faith and patience, Monica regained mobility in her microphone-holding arm and hand. She was faced with fierce physical pain, the emotional confrontation of mortality, and a long road of recovery. It is restored! She drew upon her inner strength, discipline and spirituality – and of course, the music. And, like her music, Sista Monica Parker emerged from the struggle strong, happy and proud.
There’s no keeping this good woman down! In 2005, Sista Monica received the “Artist of the Year Award” for all of Santa Cruz County, in California. The award recognizes her talents and community service. She was honored or her leadership for spearheading a Tsunami Relief Benefit Concert. She rallied Linda Tillery, local musicians and the entire community to help to raise twenty five thousand dollars for Oxfam, Save the Children, and Habitat for Humanity’s International.
In 2004, Sista Monica compiled several soul and jazz standards remembering Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” and Dinah Washington’s “What a Difference a Day Makes? This healing and inspirational CD was titled “Love, Soul & Spirit Vol. 1.” The CD was recorded and produced with the softer and sensitive vocals of Sista Monica while she was undergoing treatments. Her piano player – Danny “B” stuck by her side and encouraged her to continue to write. He visited her in the hospital and at home for piano and vocals sessions. She even sang in the hallways of UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center during treatments. She wrote the lyrics to “All Things Are Possible” and “Why Did You Leave My Child?” while Danny B., offered the musical accompaniment. These songs offered an urban contemporary flavor to her repertoire of music. Straight through the storm, she kept singing. She contends that it was the music and the grace of God that kept her live!
16,000 European fans
In 2001 , Monica released “Live in Europe”, a CD filled with the huge sound and energy of the artist affectionately called ‘The Blues Lioness.’ Blues Revue magazine compared the record to the late great “Albert Collins & the Icebreakers – LIVE”. Finally, Monica had fulfilled the long-standing request of her fans – she created a recording that captured her lively and powerful stage performances. In a preamble to Monica’s current status as a leader among the next generation of great blues women, she once came to what the Associated Press called a “Rockin’ Rescue.” Monica stood in for her idol Etta James at the San Jose Americas Festival when Ms. James was hospitalized the day of the performance. Sista Monica first calmed the crowd. She finished the headlining set with two encores and standing ovations. By the year 2000, “The Blues Lioness” had built such a reputation that she was invited to perform for President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and thousands of delegates at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Two years later in 2002, Sista Monica received the “Artist of the Year Award” at the prestigious 17th Annual Monterey Bay Blues Festival. She joins the ranks of the legendary Buddy Guy, BB King and Etta James. The career momentum took her back to Holland; she completed a 17-concert tour of The Netherlands in November of that same year. Upon returning to the United States, Monica discovered a lump under her right arm. It was diagnosed as a rare and severe form of cancer – Synovial Sarcoma. She was told that without treatment, she had 3 months to live. That was six years ago! She is stronger than ever!
Later in 2001, Monica released her first traditional gospel CD, “Gimmie That Old Time Religion.” This CD with songs include: “Walk Around Heaven All Day,” “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands,” “Didn’t It Rain,” “Amazing Grace” and “Bye & Bye” captured the enduring qualities of good old time, hand-clapping gospel music. It is filled with congregational singing and music. For Monica, the recording evokes songs she heard as a little girl. Listening to LPs on the stereo while her mother braided her hair before Sunday school. The CD drew inspiration from Mahalia Jackson, The Staples Singers, Evangelist Shirley Caesar, Rev. James Cleveland, Albertina Walker, and many gospel choirs in the Midwest growing up.
In 2000, Monica released a third CD “People Love the Blues” to critical acclaim and talk of Grammy nods. She recruited guest guitarists included Jimmy Thackery, Larry McCray and Dan Caron from the Charles Brown Band. Accolades and industry recognition for Sista Monica came as a whirlwind.
Tom Hyslop of Blues Revue magazine wrote “She’s star material all the way…This is a near-perfect record… (Her) huge voice and incredible chops give her one of the best instruments around.”
Bill Milkowski of Jazz Times magazine wrote “An explosive singer on the California blues scene, she smokes all the competition (with the possible exception of Koko Taylor) on People Love the Blues”